Hands On Management: Succession Planning
A key strategic planning process.
Succession planning is one of those interesting processes that most managers and owners seem to totally leave to chance. Hoping (or even praying) that their key workers will never leave, they usually fail to make any provisions for the fact that one day, for whatever reason, that key person may simply not arrive at work.
Often only then, does the manager/owner realize the incredible gap that person has left; and bemoans the fact that it may take weeks if not months to find a replacement.
Succession planning of any and all key positions should be an integral part of any business strategy. It is the means of identifying a person who either already has, or has the potential to acquire, the necessary skills, knowledge and qualities to take on a particular role – even on a short term basis.
Succession planning can help at all levels of an organization. From the most junior positions to someone learning the core functions of a managerial position.
Just think of the last time someone was sick or took an extended break in your organisation. Did you have adequate cover or was the work just left to pile up, putting extreme pressure on that person once they returned?
Succession planning should not be viewed as teaching someone who could then stage a coup and overthrow your position! That isn’t the point of succession planning.
Imagine if you were a manager wouldn’t it be nice to take a holiday knowing the work was going into ‘safe hands’ so you could just relax and enjoy the time off? And wouldn’t it make your break more enjoyable knowing that you were not going to come back to work facing a mountainous backlog of e.mails and problems that no-one could handle in your absence ?
Morrissey’s book on succession planning shows you how to implement such plans into your workforce and couples that information with realistic advice on how to approach the process with your staff so they don’t feel threatened.
Succession planning isn’t just about making sure a gap is filled when someone is taken ill or leaves suddenly, it is also about implementing personal development programmes for existing staff so they get an opportunity to learn other aspects of the business; and of course, while they are learning the new job, they will greatly benefit from the coaching and mentoring they will receive.
So if you want a motivated and multi-skilled team, and you don’t want your business to be vulnerable if a key person leaves, then read why every manager should be proactive about succession planning.